Behind the Sport Coat: The Bullitt Mustang - Yes, That One - Heads to the Auction Block

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
behind the sport coat the bullitt mustang yes em that em one heads to the

Automotive collectibles emerge from pop culture all the time, but this particular auction item can be assured of stratospheric bids. It’s an icon, one that’s thrilled generations of audiences for 51 years, ever since San Francisco’s nattily-dressed Lieutenant Frank Bullitt spotted a suspicious black Dodge Charger in the rear-view of his Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang 390 fastback.

Two identical Mustangs went into the Holy Grail of all movie car chases, but only one remains in drivable condition (the subject of this story didn’t have to endure the suspension-twisting jumps). Ford pressed both it and Steve McQueen’s granddaughter into service during the 2018 Detroit auto show, using the historical eye candy as a backdrop to its launch of the new Bullitt edition ‘Stang.

Come 2020, the actual Bullitt Mustang will change hands. Who the lucky bastard is who gets behind the wheel remains to be seen.

Late last night, owner Sean Kiernan announced on various social media platforms that his family, following “a lot of conversation and prayer,” has decided to sell the original Bullitt Mustang.

Through a lot of conversation and prayer my family and I have decided to sell our car, the 1968 Mustang GT fastback known as Bullitt. I can promise that we have thought this through together and decided that this is the best decision for the family. Bull…

— The Real Bullitt (@TheRealBullitt) August 15, 2019

Unrestored, and with only minor repairs dotting its service life, the Mustang piloted by McQueen’s character has spent the majority of its mainly quiet life with the Kiernan family. The car passed down to Sean following the death of his father, Bob.

A year and a half ago the car’s life changed, and along with it, the family’s. Its appearance at NAIAS brought it much attention; everyone wanted to get their hands on the faded ‘Stang, be it for a TV spot or car show appearance.

In an Instagram post, Kiernan laid out what happens next.

“I can promise that we have thought this through together and decided that this is the best decision for the family,” he wrote. “Bullitt has been part of my family for 45 years and we have celebrated her in the grandest way possible, and now it will have a new role and new meaning to the future owner. Mecum Auctions will handle the sale of the car and it will headline the Kissimmee, Florida auction in January 2020. The announcement of the car will be made in Monterey, California by myself surrounded by long time friends on August 14th at 3pm Pacific.”

“I have accomplished what I set out to do with the car; Tell my Dad’s story in the best way possible and share the car with the world,” Kiernan added. “I had no idea what to expect when we unveiled the car in January 2018 in Detroit, but since then everyone has been absolutely excited and respectful to see the car and hear the story. I have met many awesome people along the way and have heard many amazing stories. Thanks to each and every one of you, and I will continue to be very active in the automotive/Mustang community.”

Kiernan provided a list of the vehicle’s remaining appearances following this week’s Monterey Car Week announcement. Those looking to glimpse the vehicle in the flesh can see it at Kentucky Summer Nights on August 24th, the Mecum Dallas Auction in September, Charlotte AutoFair in October, and SEMA in November.

As for what price the original Bullitt might fetch in Kissimmee come January, it’s undoubtedly something you couldn’t pull off without a dose of criminality.

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]

Join the conversation
2 of 32 comments
  • Lastwgn Lastwgn on Aug 15, 2019

    My guess would be that the car is being listed with an unspecified and unobtainable reserve to establish a market value. Some time after the auction is complete, the unsold Bullitt will quietly find its way to a proper museum with the family being fairly compensated. At least I would like to think that is what will happen. It would be unfortunate to see the car in the hands of some private collector that simply has more money than sense.

  • THX1136 THX1136 on Aug 15, 2019

    I like this car because I like 67/68 Mustangs. There is something about the styling that appeals to me. Like some have said - especially lastwgn - I truly hope it ends up someplace where anyone interested can view the car.

  • Chuck Norton For those worried about a complex power train-What vehicle doesn't have one? I drive a twin turbo F-150 (3.5) Talk about complexity.. It seems reliability based on the number of F-150s sold is a non-issue. As with many other makes/models. I mean how many operations are handle by micro today's vehicles?
  • Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models
  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....